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Viewing cable 09KABUL3068, AHMED WALI KARZAI AND GOVERNOR WEESA ON GOVERNANCE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KABUL3068 2009-10-03 04:04 2010-11-28 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kabul
VZCZCXRO0787
OO RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHBUL #3068/01 2760446
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 030446Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1794
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 003068 

SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR SRAP, SCA/FO, SCA/A, EUR/RPM 
STATE PASS USAID FOR ASIA/SCAA 
USFOR-A FOR POLAD 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/27/2019 
TAGS: KDEM MOPS PGOV PREL AF
SUBJECT: AHMED WALI KARZAI AND GOVERNOR WEESA ON GOVERNANCE 
IN KANDAHAR 

Classified By: Interagency Provincial Affairs Deputy Coordinator Hoyt Y 
ee for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 

1. (C) Summary: in a lengthy and cordial introductory meeting 
with Kandahar Provincial Council Chief Ahmed Wali Karzai 
(AWK) and Governor Tooryalai Weesa, Senior Civilian 
Representative (SCR) for the South Frank Ruggiero underscored 
the need for improved governance in Kandahar, and highlighted 
the importance of naming credible provincial governors and 
district officials before the inauguration to send a positive 
signal on good governance to the Afghan people and the 
international community. Both AWK and Weesa acknowledged the 
weakness of the government in Kandahar, and outlined their 
proposals for local solutions, including the empowerment of 
shuras of district elders for local dispute resolution rather 
than the courts. AWK also emphasized large-scale 
infrastructure projects rather than smaller cash-for-work 
program, and his desire to see private security companies in 
the province under one licensee. AWK discounted the role of 
elections and their importance to Afghans. End Summary. 

AWK Nervous but Eager to Share Views 
---------------------------------- 

2. (C) SCR Ruggiero met with AWK and Governor Weesa on 
September 28 in the Governor's Palace in Kandahar City. The 
Representative of Canada in Kandahar (RoCK) Ben Rowswell also 
attended the meeting, which was held in a wood-paneled room, 
beneath a large photo of President Hamid Karzai. (Note: 
While we must deal with AWK as the head of the Provincial 
Council, he is widely understood to be corrupt and a 
narcotics trafficker. End Note) AWK, dressed in a crisp 
white shalwar kameez and pinstriped vest, appeared nervous, 
though eager to express his views on the international 
presence in Kandahar. 

The Importance of Good Governance 
------------------------------ 

3. (C) SCR emphasized the criticality of good governance in 
the province, and said the United States would like to see 
improvement in the post-election period. He said the United 
States is ready to work with the GIRoA to strengthen key 
provincial and district level governance, but we are only 
willing to expend our resources in people and programs if we 
have confidence those resources will pay off and make a real 
difference. 

4. (C) Both AWK and Weesa acknowledged there was a 
credibility gap between the public and the government. Weesa 
said it was a problem that in the 10 months he had been in 
office, the government had not been able to deliver 24-hour 
electricity to the people, and that 150 factories had closed 
because of it. He said people looked to NGOs more than to 
the government to deliver services, and he complained that 
NGOs poach workers from the government by offering higher 
wages. SCR emphasized the importance of naming credible 
provincial governors and district officials before the 
inauguration to send a positive signal on good governance to 
the Afghan people and the international community. 

5. (C) AWK suggested one way of fighting corruption in the 
province would be to re-establish and empower district 
shuras, instead of judges or police, to settle local 
disputes. Currently there is only one judge for the five 
districts around Kandahar City, he said, and a council of 
local elders would be more effective at resolving land, water 
and other disputes. (Note: there are a total of seven judges 
for all 17 districts in the province.) "You can easily bribe 
the chief of police or a judge,8 he said, &but you can't 
bribe 50 elders." He said the provincial council, with the 
support of the governor, could initiate the formation of 
these district shuras, which would consist of 10-15 elders 
elected by the people. 

Infrastructure Priorities, Private Security Contractors and 
Conflicts of Interest 
--------------------------------------------- ----------------- 

6. (C) AWK said he had been in Kandahar almost continuously 
since 1992, and that the U.S. reputation in the province was 
built on the back of two key infrastructure projects done in 
the 1950s and 60s. He said what would make a difference to 
the population today would be similar large-scale, 
labor-intensive projects that would provide jobs to the 
people and keep them from being recruited by the Taliban. 
AWK cautioned against the use of small scale projects and 

KABUL 00003068 002 OF 002 


additional cash-for-work programs; he stated that the use of 
implementing partners does not allow expenditure of 
development resources to reach villagers and other local 
Afghans. Both he and Weesa added that it should be the local 
elders who are empowered to distribute these jobs, not 
officials or companies from outside. 

Putting Private Security Under the Direction of the 
Provincial Council 
--------------------------------------------- -- 

7. (C) In the same vein of providing "local solutions to 
local problems," as he put it, AWK recommended a "local 
solution" to the problem of providing security in the area. 
He said that currently, there are many jihadi commanders with 
militias who independently provide protection to convoys and 
projects, but that a proposal before the Ministry of Interior 
would bring all these commanders under one umbrella in 
Kandahar, with one person given the license for the private 
security sector. He said there would be a meeting Wednesday 
(September 30) of all the security companies, under the 
auspices of the Provincial Council, to appoint this 
representative to send to Kabul. (Note: AWK is understood to 
have a stake in private security contracting, and has 
aggressively lobbied the Canadians to have his security 
services retained for the Dahla Dam refurbishment. Both he 
and the governor have tried to exert control over how 
contracts are awarded in the province ) all of which could 
be a significant conflict of interest in the province. End 
Note.) 

Elections: What's the Point? 
--------------------- 

8. (C) In answer to a question from the RoCK and the SCR 
about the credibility of the elections, AWK said democracy 
was new for Afghanistan, and that people in the region did 
not understand the point of having one election, let alone 
two. "The people do not like change," he said. "They think, 
the President is alive, and everything is fine. Why have an 
election?" 

Comment 
----- 

9. (C) The meeting with AWK highlights one of our major 
challenges in Afghanistan: how to fight corruption and 
connect the people to their government, when the key 
government officials are themselves corrupt. Given AWK's 
reputation for shady dealings, his recommendations for large, 
costly infrastructure projects should be viewed with a 
healthy dose of skepticism. Still, his observations about 
the unintended consequences of how NGOs and other 
international partners do their work, e.g. "poaching" of 
government staff, track with some of our own concerns, 
including about how to promote Afghan-led solutions. We will 
continue to urge AWK to improve his own credibility gap as 
well as that of the GIRoA. 
EIKENBERRY